Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris confer on stage outside the Chase Center after Biden delivered his acceptance speech on the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center on August 20, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris confer on stage outside the Chase Center after Biden delivered his acceptance speech on the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center on August 20, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Why the DNC's Platform Will Guarantee a Loss If Democrats Don't Do More

Democrats are simply not going to win votes if they see a crisis of this scale and respond with laughably small, do-nothing policy ideas. 

Morris Pearl

 by The Hill

Nearly six months into the pandemic, the term “unprecedented” remains the only word to accurately describe the economic, health, and social challenges we currently face. In our country’s 200+ year history, we’ve never seen nearly half the country jobless, over 40 million people at risk of eviction, or at least 26 million going hungry, and we’ve never seen all of this happen at the same time that a lethal disease with no known treatment or cure is running rampant through our communities.

This year of unprecedented national pain and suffering is also a presidential election year. This means our leaders have the prime opportunity to offer Americans big, bold new ideas to guide our country in a better direction through the national party platform. However, thus far the Democrats have only proposed the same tired, age-old solutions for new problems hopelessly beyond the scale of yesterday’s policies. They’ve failed to meet the 2020 moment.

But with the election on the horizon, there’s still time to course-correct.

In the Democrats’ current 2020 platform, there’s a lot of talk about undoing the damage of the Trump administration, especially with regards to the economy, and returning things to their “historical norm.” The problem with that goal is that even before the Trump administration, the American economy wasn’t working for most. It was working fine for me, a former managing director at BlackRock. But for many Americans, going back to normal simply isn’t good enough.

Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, America marked a 50-year high in income inequality as a result of decades of stagnant wages for working folks and the meteoric wealth accumulation by the top 1 percent. A full 40 percent of the country didn’t even have $400 on hand for an emergency expense in the years before COVID-19, and a staggering 78 percent of workers were living paycheck to paycheck. Millions of low-income workers were already getting priced out of homes everywhere in the country, and most had to work two or more jobs just to be able to make rent. At least half the country was suffering before the pandemic in an allegedly “good” economic era. A lot of those people aren’t paying their rent or mortgages, or doing all of the other things that make money trickle up to business people and investors. The Democrats should not be advocating for a return to those times. Democrats should be fighting to entirely redefine what a “good economy” is and reimagining every policy that gets us there.

Reversing some of the most egregious legislation of the Trump administration, like the 2017 tax cuts that amounted to a $1.7 trillion giveaway to the top 1 percent, is a start. And the Democratic platform endorses this. But simply repealing whatever Trump has done is not a positive vision for the future. If ever there was a time to get behind big, bold economic policy ideas like the Green New Deal or a wealth tax, now is the time.

Beyond just undoing the damage of the Trump administration, there’s little in the Democratic platform that one could call big or bold. In the 2020 platform, after months of primary debates on new concepts like wealth taxes and old-but-good ideas like investors paying the same tax rates as people who work for a living, there’s barely a whisper about taxing the rich, and what’s there is vague to the point of meaninglessness.

In 2016, the Democrats pledged to tax the rich like never before, proposing over a trillion dollars in new tax hikes targeted at the top 1 percent. Four years later, our need to tax the rich has never been greater, but the party’s platform is somehow less progressive on it than before. How is the bottom half of the country, the half that was barely eking out a living before the pandemic completely devastated them, supposed to look at that and believe that this is a party that will stand up and fight for them?

Democrats are simply not going to win votes if they see a crisis of this scale and respond with laughably small, do-nothing policy ideas. Millions of people are dying, getting kicked out of their homes, losing their health insurance, and struggling to eat. We are being faced with a historic moment to reenvision our economy, how it works, and more importantly, for who it works. It would be nice to see a 2020 party platform that reflects that.


© 2021 The Hill
Morris Pearl

Morris Pearl

Morris Pearl currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of 200 high-net-worth Americans who are committed to building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation. The group focuses on promoting public policy solutions that encourage political equality, guarantee a sustaining wage for working Americans, and ensure that millionaires, billionaires, and corporations pay their fair share of taxes.  Follow him on Twitter: @morris_pearl

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden Should Cancel Student Debt or Watch $85 Billion Evaporate From US Economy: Analysis

Far-reaching cancellation enacted by Biden, meanwhile, could add more than $173 billion to the nation's GDP in 2022 alone.

Kenny Stancil ·


Given Cover by Red-Baiting GOP, Corporate Dems Rebuked for Tanking Biden Nominee for Top Bank Regulator

"If you think that Senate Democrats rose up to [Republicans'] shameful display of modern McCarthyism by rallying around President Biden's nominee or her ideas that banking should work for the middle class, then you don't know the soul of today's Democratic Party," wrote one columnist.

Julia Conley ·


'S.O.S.!': Groups in Red States Nationwide Plead With Democrats to Pass Voting Rights Bill

"We can tell you firsthand that our Republican senators have no interest in joining this effort."

Jake Johnson ·


Revealed: US Public Pension Funds Are 'Quiet Culprits of Climate Chaos'

One activist called divestment "an ethical responsibility" given that "maintaining the status quo of fossil fuel energy production and investments will unquestionably lead to a self-created catastrophe."

Jessica Corbett ·


'It Is Urgent': Progressives Push for Bill to Expand and Improve Social Security

"It's time to cast a vote on behalf of all beneficiaries. Not with cuts, but with improvements to their lives."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo